Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man – The Project
Lian Lunson’s Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man is a stew comprising interviews with performers and individuals connected to Cohen, performances of Cohen’s music by an interesting mix of musicians, including Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Antony, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker (from Pulp), Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Beth Orton, and others, and interviews with Leonard Cohen.
This concoction has won the admiration of some viewers but many others find it off-putting. The participants’ commentary about Cohen (all of which strike me as dead-on) are so complimentary that even Bono, a world-class icon himself, sounds more like a pre-teen girl describing the wonders of the latest boy band to hit the charts than an accomplished musician describing a stellar artist in the same field.
The fundamental problem of Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man
is Leonard Cohen.
Watching Leonard Cohen first extrapolate a rationale from an interviewer’s query to justify an exposition on the subject of his choice and then proceed to deliver a thoughtful, witty, well constructed verbal essay, complemented by a sequence of camera-worthy facial expressions and movements is a fascinating experience for the spectator (and usually, although not always, the interrogator). With the possible exception of Madonna, no one strikes a pose during interviews better than Cohen, and, arguably, no one in any profession offers more provocative, revealing, and accessible content. The man gives good interview.
It is my contention that enticing the viewer with packets of raw, uncut, high quality Leonard Cohen and then forcing that same viewer to also accept quantities of necessarily less potent product in the form of praise for Cohen or covers of his songs results, at best, in disappointment and perhaps resentment.
The Music Tribute To Leonard Cohen
That ambivalent criticism now officially registered, it must be said that some of the covers are intriguing and assuredly worth watching. Almost everyone agrees on that. Almost no one agrees on which songs by which singers are successes and which are failures.
A clip follows for your enjoyment